“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
Sun, sand and surf for Larry and Ruth. We were excited to be visiting the four major islands for rest and relaxation after sixteen years in the ministry for a vacation in Hawaii. Our sons were staying with my parents and our church was left in capable hands during our absence.
Kauai, Oahu and the Big Island were beautifully bathed in tropical paradise. When we arrived on Maui, however, rain pelted the island everywhere generating bursting waterfalls, giant waves and minor flooding everywhere that we glimpsed through gray fog. Yet the Living Water pulsated within Larry as a still, small voice quietly mentioned, “Some day this island is going to be your place of ministry.”
Two years later, Larry was invited to become part of the ministry team in Pukulani, Upcountry Maui. This momentous decision would also need to be positively accepted with our boys, Jeff in eleventh grade and Chris in eighth. How would they react to leaving their extended family with cousins their ages plus church, school and community friends they’d made? For Jeff already in college prep courses, the reality of moving half a world away immediately hit hard as interrupted future goals collided in the rigors of transitions that could create chaos for his last two high school years. Yet within a very short time, Jeff said, “Who am I to interfere with the plan of ministry God has for us?”
For Chris, this was an easier decision to move half way around the world as he was the sports enthusiast, especially with baseball. He had played on a team from the time he began middle school and made friends easily. This seemed to be more of an adventure with all kinds of water sports beckoning, as well.
And so we boarded a plane in Pennsylvania with several family members waving good-bye in the airport terminal as we began a journey that impacted each of the four of us.
Lord, it was difficult to leave our comfort zone, selling all we owned, tearing ourselves from loved ones. Yet I heard my husband say while we were 35,000 feet in the air heading towards our destination of ministry, full of unanwsered questions and an uncertain future, “I’ve never felt freer in my life as I am now!” God had called and we had answered…